GOP platform goofs on red-light cams

Tom Pauken is a smart guy who’s running for Texas governor.

He’s running as a “true conservative,” which means — I am going to presume — that he favors small government and less intrusion into local affairs.

Why, then, does this stalwart Republican say he opposes cities’ authority to install red-light cameras at dangerous intersections? “I support a statewide ban on red-light cameras as prescribed in the Texas Republican Party’s platform,” Pauken said in a recent news release.

What? The party platform opposes cities’ right to act on their own to curb what they believe to be a problem at certain intersections?

Amarillo has deployed these cameras for the past five years. They’ve had mixed success. People are still running red lights, either just blazing through them or taking off from a complete stop to violate the law. The Amarillo City Council, instead of retreating from the strategy to reduce these infractions, has expanded the number of intersections that will be patrolled by the electronic devices. Good job, City Hall.

Back to Pauken’s point about endorsing the GOP platform.

Republicans keep yammering about government interference. They decry “big government” paternalism. They keep saying localities should have the right to determine policy issues. Amarillo acted in its own interest when it decided to activate the cameras. What’s good for Amarillo isn’t good, say, for Lubbock — which once deployed the cameras, only to take them down because too many people griped about them.

By my reckoning, Pauken’s insistence that the GOP platform is correct doesn’t make sense coming from the so-called “true conservative.”

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